South of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, where the sandy bluffs are macraméed with blooming succulent, you’ll find one of the West Coast’s best venues for hang gliding—say nothing of dog watching. Welcome to Fort Funston.
It’s hard to imagine a more suitable name for this former military outpost, where hang gliders dazzle hikers, dog walkers, and families who watch from the wheelchair- and stroller-accessible viewing platform and trails overlooking the Pacific.
Ready to hit the beach? It’s a good hike down to the sandy beach here, so be sure your crew hits the chemical toilets at the parking lot before venturing down to the shore. We love this beach for its festive atmosphere of colorful man-kites passing above and constant parade of dogs below. Take a look at some of the Funston fun to be had here in my video clip:
There is also some great beach combing here during the low tide, but as with most beaches in the Bay Area, be wary of sneaker waves and sudden surges that catch plenty of grown ups off guard each year. As you might expect, winds can get a bit strong here, and fog is… well… always a possibility. So be sure to dress in layers, and if you have a chance, check out the Fort Funston webcam to see the current conditions.
View Fort Funston, San Francisco in a larger map
It’s easiest to reach Fort Funston by car, and it makes a great road stop as you venture out of the city toward Monterey or Santa Cruz, or while driving up the coast on your road trip to San Francisco. Just pull in to the parking area, pop out and take a look at what’s happening—and it won’t cost you a dime.
For another free, fun activity while visiting San Francisco with your family, see my post on Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby